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Subject: A brief review rss

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Pedro Pereira
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I first read about this game on www.hall9000.de where it got a decent review. I love push your luck games and I thought it was interesting that a push your luck game was turned into a race game.

I've played it a few times now and thought I'd write a short review about it and hope you find it useful.

I like this game a lot. I think the theme is funny and the mechanic is quite original. In this game, players are lions in the zoo that race through the zoo with the help of different animals that pull their race-carts. Depending on what animal you have, you will be able to use different advantages that can be more or less useful depending on your overall position in the race or even on the actual course itself.

The race is devided into 5 lags, and as soon as one player finishes the the current lag, all players, starting with the one in last position, get to choose a new animal that replaces the previous one. However, all players keep the animals they've just placed face down with them as they will still play an important role at the end of the game.

All players start with a donkey pulling their race-buggy. Donkeys have no abilities but are adjusted according to starting position, allowing for slightly higher speed if you are 5th instead of 1st at starting positions.

So each animal has a "speed" value against which players will roll different types of dice. Dice are all d6 but they come in different sizes and different colours. for example the beige coloured dice is of the smallest size and its 6 faces show 0, 0, 1, 1, 2, 2 on the other extreme you got the brown dice that are the biggest ones and its 6 sides show 0, 1, 2, 4, 5, 6

So on a player's turn, the player actually decides how far they want to move their race-buggy. The whole track is made up of squares of different colours, and these colours match the colours of the dice. So when deciding that you want to move 4 squares for example, you check the colour of the squares you will be moving onto and take that many dice of the corresponding colours. Next you roll the dice and add up their values. If the combined value does not exceed the current animal's "speed" value, then you were successful and you may move those 4 squares. If on the other hand you exceeded that value, tough luck and you advance only one sqare.

And this is basically what you will be doing. And everytime one player pushes forward into a new lag, all players span a new aninal to their buggy and try their luck again.

Most animals will also have an "end-game speed" this basically represents the momentum you gained whilst using them but which will really only show its value at the end of the race.

So when one player reaches the finishing line, you finish the current round and then after that, each player sums up that "end-game speed" of the 5 animals they've used during the game and still move that many squares. This can be quite tense and generate unexpected surprises. In our last game, one player was last and actually almost won ending up in second place very close behind the winner. So chosing the right animal is an important part of the game and as much a push your luck element as choosing how many dice you want to roll.

Here are a few examples of different animals and their abilities:

- Chameleons: they are 5, so what you do is you take one die of each colour (5 in total) and roll them together, then identify the single highest rolled value and move that many squares (there is only one colour that can result in a 6). It's speed value is X

- Kangaroo: rather than deciding how far you want to move, you roll one die at a time and after each roll you decide whether you want to stop and move or continue rolling one more die. It's speed value is 6

- Elephant: this one is sloooow! It's speed value is 4 so you can't risk rolling many dice, however, its end of race value is 8!! So you move an additional 8 squares at the end of the race... this is a big deal!

- Giraffe: Its speed value is 7 unless you're last, then it's 10.

- Springbock: If you start your turn on a grey square, you immediately move 2 squares and then roll the number of dice you want.

- Hyena: Whenever another player miss rols (higher than its current speed value), then the Hyena advances one square (I like this one).

- Cheetah: the cheetah has the highest speed value: 12 I've used this one to successfully roll 6 or even 7 dice depending on the colours. Very fast. However, no end-game speed.

There are loads of animals and they all got different abilities, some of them allow you to do rerolls or turn one die onto 1 or even consider specific dice as having max. value of 1. With 5 players, there are enough unique animals for each player to have 5 different animals throughout the race and there are some left-over animals still. In total, including the donkeys, they are 28 unique animals (even the donkeys, whilst no particular ability, have different speed values and end-race values).

This game is a lot of fun and you will find players constantly relying differently on their animal skills to try to make a comeback (often resulting in failure depending on how greedy they are). There are also a lot of nice touches such as the buggy has a chart that you can use to check what the different dice are made of and it even shows you their average value for you to use as an estimate of how daring you can theoretically be.

Also, the board is quite large and has a lot of segments that need to be inserted in the right places. These segments have 3 squares on them and they even have flipsides with different coloured squares. So sometimes you might have a race track that is more or less intensive in specific coloured dice which can make the track more or less difficult to navigate, encouraging you to push your luck just a little further dependin on what lies ahead of you when it is your turn.

A lot of fun and the feature of the end-race makes for a tense moment. I love starting with one player and then going clockwise in revealing an animal at a time to see how much further they actually race. This makes for a super tense end-game and we've had players cheer each other when making pretty awesome comebacks in the end.

A great game that probably didn't get noticed much but I would highly recommend checking it out if you are a fan of push your luck games. Great components, fun illustrations and a lot of replay value. I've played it with 2, 3 and 5 players so far and it has always been fun! This is currently on my shortlist for one of the 3 best games of 2017 which I will have to have chosen sometime in January 2018.
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Will Plante
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Nice write up, so far this is my favorite kid's game that I played this year. I am going to bring it to my game group, I think it'd still be lots of fun with a group of adults. Not sure if this'll ever get a wider release, but if not it's worth importing a copy.
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Pedro Pereira
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Thanks Will. Currently I have only played it with adults and it was a lot of rum.
 
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